GRIEVING families are being put through more heartache as loved ones are being buried in
The ground at Brent Council-managed Carpenders Park Cemetery in Oxhey, Hertfordshire, is filling with water, causing anguish for relatives whose departed family members are being interred in the Muslim tradition.
Haroon Sheikh, who buried his mother-in-law in December, said: “On arrival at the cemetery,
we were distressed to find out that part of the grave had collapsed and also there was water coming into the grave from
a broken underground drainage pipe.
“Although the grave diggers worked very hard to resolve the situation, they were not able to fix the broken pipe.
“The situation was made more difficult as we had arranged for a Muslim shroud burial which meant that we were not going to use the coffin box.”
The family decided to use a coffin in the end. They have nearly 15 adjoining plots and Mr Sheikh, a care home company chief executive, is keen to have this issue resolved.
Jenny Isaac, council’s operational director for neighbourhood services, said: “The graves are filling with water because the water table is so high due to the unprecedented amount of rain we have had in the last few months.
“This means that the ground is saturated and so when a hole is dug, the water seeps into the lowest point which is the bottom of the newly dug grave.
“As is normal practice where water collects, we pump out excessive water and dress the base of the grave with wood chippings. “Graves are being dug at the same depth and there is no significant gradient at Carpenders Park.
“The old disused agricultural drainage pipe was plugged and repaired straight way.”
Independent Harrow councillor Husain Akhtar, a ward councillor for Canons who recently attended a funeral at the cemetery, has urged the council to look further into the “sensitive” matter after being contacted by lots of families who have been affected.
Eqbal Kadri, honorary general secretary of Hendon Mosque, the main provider of Muslim funerals in north-west London, said: “Although every cemetery does their best to pump out water from the grave 15 minutes before the funeral cortège arrives, it does not help as the water table is so high that they are unable to cope with this problem.
“The reason is that London cemeteries have clay ground, and some cemeteries do not take burials at all for the same reason until the rain stops for a couple of days.
“We do explain to the bereaved families in advance so that they do not get upset on the day.”